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How to Shoot Better Looking Webcam Videos

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YouTube is full of videos shot with simple computer webcams. Some of these webcam videos look great—but most don’t. In this article, author Michael Miller shows you how to create great-looking (and sounding) videos with your computer’s webcam—and stand out from all those underlit, poorly shot videos on the web.

There are lots of ways to shoot an online video. You can hire a professional production company (costs a ton of money), use a fancy camcorder (if you have one), or just use the webcam that’s built into or connected to your computer.

Webcam videos are easy to shoot and can look great – if you know the right tricks. If you don’t do it right, your webcam video can look dark and grainy and pretty much unwatchable.

Fortunately, it’s easy to shoot a good-looking webcam video. Read on to learn a few easy-to-implement tips that you can use to create first-class videos for uploading to YouTube and other online video sites.

Get a Better Webcam

One way to shoot better-quality webcam videos is to use a better-quality webcam. Let me tell you what I mean.

Many older webcams, as well as newer, lower-priced ones, shoot a relatively low-quality picture. I’m talking about standard resolution video or so –640 x 480 pixels, non-widescreen picture. That might be good enough when watching a video on a small window in your web browser, but not when you blow up the picture to fit a larger screen.

What you want is a webcam that can shoot in true high definition (HD). That means a resolution of 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) or, even better, 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels). HD video means a more detailed, crystal clear picture, in full widescreen glory. The HD picture is much sharper than one shot with a standard definition webcam; we’re talking more than three times the picture information than SD.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a bunch of money to buy an HD webcam. For example, Logitech offers HD webcams for as low as $40. You can easily connect a new HD webcam to your desktop PC, typically via USB. You can also connect an external webcam to a notebook PC that already has an internal webcam; the external one bypasses the internal one. And the results are worth it.

Figure 1 Logitech’s C270 HD webcam.

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